Long Named Nagurski Trophy Finalist
DALLAS Virginia senior defensive end Chris Long has been named as one of the five finalists for the 2007 Bronko Nagurski Trophy by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.
Also vying for the honor of the best defensive football player in college football are Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis, LSU tackle Glenn Dorsey, South Florida end George Selvie and Kansas cornerback Aqib Talib. Laurinaitis won the award in 2006.
The winner will be announced on Dec. 3 and presented the Bronko Nagurski Trophy at a gala banquet at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.
The FWAA award is named after Nagurski, who dominated college football at Minnesota as a bruising fullback and tackle from 1927-29. He could have been an All-America at any position, playing 60 minutes and was the best player wherever he lined up.
Here is a breakdown of the candidates:
Laurinaitis, a 6-3, 240-pound junior linebacker from Hamel, Minn., will spearhead the Buckeyes’ defense in their showdown with Michigan on Saturday. He was named Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week this season for his inspiring career- high, 19-tackle performance in the Buckeyes’ 38-17 victory over Wisconsin. This season, Laurinatis has eight tackles for 32 yards in losses and 97 total tackles for the once-beaten Buckeyes. He will seek to join Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald (1995-96) as the second player to win back-to-back Nagurski Trophies.
Dorsey, a 6-2, 303-pound senior from Gonzales, La., has been a stalwart on top-ranked LSU’s line the entire season. He has 53 total tackles (33 unassisted) and 11.5 tackles for 62 yards in losses. He has three pass break-ups and four quarterback hurries.
Long, a 6-4, 284-pound senior from Ivy, Va., and son of former NFL great Howie Long, has been instrumental in three Virginia road victories this season. He scored a safety in Virginia’s 18-17 victory over Maryland; his 25-yard interception return set up the Cavaliers’ winning field goal in a 22-20 victory over North Carolina; and he blocked a field goal in Virginia’s 23-21 victory over Middle Tennessee. On the season, Long has 69 total tackles (30 unassisted), 17 tackles for 114 yards in losses and seven pass break- ups for Virginia, 9-2.
Selvie, a 6-4, 242-pound sophomore from Pensacola, Fla., with 53 total tackles (41 unassisted), leads the country in tackles for loss (30.5) for 138 yards. He is two shy of breaking the NCAA record. Of those tackles for loss, 14.5 are sacks. He has 10 quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and one blocked kick for the Bulls, 7-3, who still have two regular-season games remaining.
Talib, a 6-2, 205-pound junior from Richardson, Texas, leads the Big 12 Conference in passes defended. He has 48 tackles (31 unassisted), 3.5 tackles for eight yards in losses, four interceptions (135 return yards) and 11 pass break-ups for the unbeaten Jayhawks. He returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown against Florida International. He also is known as a hard-hitter, knocking Oklahoma State receiver Adarius Bowman out of the Jayhawks’ most recent victory.
The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C. region. The club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches
The Football Writers Association of America, a non- profit organization founded in 1941, consists of nearly 1,000 men and women across North America who cover college football for a living. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game day operations, major awards, a national poll and its annual All-America team.